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J.M. v. East Greenwich Township Board of Education

August 27, 2008


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hillman, District Judge


This matter has come before the Court on plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration of the Court's March 25, 2008 Opinion and Order granting in part and denying in part defendants' motion to dismiss. For the reasons expressed below, plaintiffs' motion will be denied.


Plaintiffs, J.M. and M.M., are parents to their son, A.M., who at the time of the filing of their complaint was seven years old and a student in the East Greenwich School District. When A.M. was born, he was diagnosed with Noonan Syndrome, which is a genetic disorder. A.M. takes medication for a heart condition and he suffers from bilateral severe sensorineural hearing loss.

Plaintiffs filed a ten count complaint alleging numerous violations arising out of the development of an Individualized Educational Plan ("IEP") for A.M. for the 2006-2007 school year. Defendants moved to dismiss all of plaintiffs' claims except for their IDEA claim. In the Court's March 25, 2008 Opinion, the Court granted defendants' motion to dismiss as to plaintiffs' 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim, as well as their claims for breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, intentional infliction of emotional distress, fraud, and civil conspiracy. The Court denied defendants' motion as to plaintiffs' IDEA, ADA, Rehabilitation Act, and NJLAD claims, except that plaintiffs' ADA and Rehabilitation Act claims were dismissed as to the individual defendants. Plaintiffs have now moved for reconsideration of the dismissal of their § 1983, fraud, and civil conspiracy claims. Defendants have opposed this motion.


A. Standard for Motion for Reconsideration

Local Civil Rule 7.1(i) governs a motion for reconsideration. It provides, in relevant part, that "[a] motion for reconsideration shall be served and filed within 10 business days after the entry of the order or judgment on the original motion by the Judge or Magistrate Judge. A brief setting forth concisely the matter or controlling decisions which the party believes the Judge or Magistrate Judge has overlooked shall be filed with the Notice of Motion." A judgment may be altered or amended only if the party seeking reconsideration shows: (1) an intervening change in the controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence that was not available when the court granted the motion for summary judgment; or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice. Max's Seafood Cafe ex rel. Lou-Ann, Inc. v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999).

The purpose of a motion for reconsideration "is to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence." Id. The motion may not be used to re-litigate old matters or argue new matters that could have been raised before the original decision was reached. P. Schoenfeld Asset Mgmt., L.L.C. v. Cendant Corp., 161 F. Supp. 2d 349, 352 (D.N.J. 2001).

Mere disagreement with the Court will not suffice to show that the Court overlooked relevant facts or controlling law, United States v. Compaction Sys. Corp., 88 F. Supp. 2d 339, 345 (D.N.J. 1999), and should be dealt with through the normal appellate process, S.C. ex rel. C.C. v. Deptford Twp Bd. of Educ., 248 F. Supp. 2d 368, 381 (D.N.J. 2003).

B. Analysis

1. Whether Plaintiffs' Claims Arising Under § 1983 Should be Reinstated

The Court dismissed plaintiffs' § 1983 claim for three reasons: (1) a separate cause of action does not exist for a violation of § 1983; (2) plaintiffs cannot bringing their IDEA, ADA, and Rehabilitation Act claims pursuant to § 1983; and (3) plaintiffs had not alleged any constitutional violation claims, or claims arising under any other federal law. Plaintiffs argue that dismissal of this claim was improper because they did allege constitutional violations. Plaintiffs also argue that this claim should be reinstated because they stated a viable claim under the NJLAD for hostile work environment, and plaintiffs contend that such a claim is permitted to be brought pursuant to § 1983.

With regard to plaintiffs' contention that they asserted constitutional violations in their complaint, plaintiffs refer the Court to ΒΆΒΆ 228 and 230 in their complaint. In these two paragraphs, plaintiffs allege that the defendants "acted under color of law and with callous and deliberate indifference to the rights A.M., M.M. and J.M., and to A.M.'s rights as a child with a disability and to the procedural and substantive protections guranteed to A.M. and his parents by federal and state laws, including IDEA, section 504, ADA, and implementing state and federal laws and regulations, as well as the Constitution of the United States and the New Jersey Constitution," and that they ...

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